The Department of Environmental Protection says there have been many achievements in regulating the natural gas industry this year.
In a year that saw a major blowout of a Marcellus Shale gas well in Clearfield County and opposition to drilling in Allegheny County, John Hanger, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection says there were a number of achievements in regulating the industry this year.
Among the acts – charging oil and gas companies more for drilling permits and using that revenue to hire additional inspectors to regulate the industry.
“We need to work hard at minimizing the environmental impacts from natural gas drilling. We can never get those impacts to zero but you can in fact reduce those impacts if the industry gets tightly regulated as it should be,” said Hanger.
There is also a mandatory 150 foot buffer from all development for streams that are considered high quality and a rewrite of drilling regulations governing the design of wells and the materials used in the wells. Hanger said despite those changes, there’s one major disappointment.
“It’s really a disgrace that we don’t have a tax on these drilling companies,“ Hanger said incoming Governor Tom Corbett could repeal the acts or choose to make them stronger.